Ajiaco is a soup present in each South America and Cuba. Its identify comes from the phrase aji (“pepper”), initially traced to the indigenous Oto-Manguean household of languages that had been prevalent in present-day Mexico way back to 7,000 years in the past. At present, the aji pepper refers to a selected pepper fruit (Capsicum baccatum) common in South America, and is often known as the “bishop’s crown” pepper all through the Caribbean. This aji pepper serves as the flavour base for the soup, giving it a refined depth and sudden chew.
One other signature aspect of this dish is the potato. Almost 10,000 years outdated, potatoes originated within the Andean mountain areas of present-day Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador, and it’s estimated that over 4,000 native forms of the tuber exist in these areas. This dish is historically ready with quite a lot of potatoes, a testomony to the range of potatoes obtainable in South America.
This recipe is modeled after the Colombian model of Ajiaco, which at all times options rooster, corn, and potatoes (and the aji pepper, after all!). Like peppers and potatoes, corn is native to the Americas. The Colombian model can be spiced with guasca leaves, that are within the daisy household and native to South America. When you can’t discover these dried leaves at your native worldwide market, you possibly can simply discover them on-line.
The Cuban model of Ajiaco, additionally very talked-about, is a bit thicker (extra akin to a stew), and options rooster, beef, and pork – what a feast. The Peruvian model is sort of totally different from these soups, in that it isn’t served as a soup in any respect, however ran even thicker dish of braised potatoes and peppers (typically with out meat). And whereas all of those dishes now embody components that weren’t native to the Americas, similar to garlic and onions, they nonetheless seize the spirit of the unique (and sure forgotten) native dishes that impressed them.
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Ajiaco – Hen, Corn, and Potato Soup (Gluten-free, Paleo, Primal, Excellent Well being Weight loss plan)
¼ medium onion, coarsely chopped (about ¼ cup)
½ medium tomato, coarsely chopped (about ¼ cup)
1 aji chile or different spicy chile (serrano, jalapeño, and so forth), stems, seeds, and ribs eliminated (or 2 tsp aji paste)
4 tbsp recent cilantro, stems included
¼ tsp salt
2 massive bone-in, skinless rooster breasts (about 2 ½ lbs)
1 bunch inexperienced onions, ends trimmed, divided
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp salt, extra to style
8 black peppercorns (about 1 tsp)
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried guasca or oregano leaves
2 tsp olive oil
½ lb small crimson potatoes, lower into bite-sized items
½ lb small Papas Criollas, yukon gold, or different golden creamy potatoes, lower into bite-sized items
½ lb russet or different starchy potatoes, peeled and lower into bite-sized items
2 ears corn, lower into 3” lengths
crema de leche (see observe beneath)
1. Mix all the Aji paste components in a blender, then mix at excessive velocity till uniform, including a bit of water if wanted to help within the mixing course of. Retailer within the fridge.
2. Place the rooster, half of the inexperienced onions, garlic, salt, peppercorns, and bay leaf in a stockpot and fill with sufficient water to cowl the rooster by 1”. Carry to a boil over excessive warmth, then scale back warmth to medium-low and simmer till the rooster simply begins to tug away from the bone utilizing tongs, about 45 minutes, skimming off any foam that accumulates on the floor of the water.
3. Utilizing tongs or a slotted spoon, take away the rooster and loosely cowl. Pressure the simmering liquid by way of a colander into one other container, then discard the solids and wipe the stockpot clear. Return the stockpot to the range and heat the olive oil over medium warmth. Add the Aji sauce and sauté till the liquid evaporates and the oil separates from the components, about 3 minutes. Add the simmering liquid and potatoes, plus sufficient water to only cowl the potatoes. Carry to a simmer over medium-high warmth, then scale back warmth to medium-low and simmer till the potatoes are simply tender, about 13 minutes. Because the potatoes simmer, pull the rooster meat from the bones and shred into bite-sized items.
4. Utilizing a slotted spoon, take away about half of the russet potatoes and switch to a bowl. Mash the potatoes then return them to the pot to assist thicken the soup, and add the corn. Simmer till the corn is cooked by way of, about 5 minutes. Add the rooster and the opposite half of the inexperienced onions and simmer till the rooster is heated by way of and the onions are brilliant inexperienced, about 1 minute, then take away from warmth and season with salt to style. Serve with capers, recent chopped cilantro, avocado slices, and crema de leche.
*** When you don’t have entry to crema de leche, you may make the same profile by combining equal parts heavy whipping cream and complete milk bitter cream.